By Bill Gouveia
Mansfield News, MA
Memo to state representatives Betty Poirier, Phil Travis and John Lepper:
Stop trying to blame liberals and liberal philosophies for your failure to accomplish your legislative goals, never mind all the ills of society. Stop being hypocrites by pandering to what you see as your conservative base.
These three legislators took stands recently when a legislative committee voted overwhelmingly to recommend a bill that would decriminalize the possession of less than ounce of marijuana. Instead of being a criminal offense, the violation would be civil in nature and carry a $250 fine. Several states have passed similar bills in recent years.
Rep. Travis called the proposal going "...down that liberal route again." Rep. Poirier said she was not surprised at the committee's recommendation because the chairman, Rep. Ruth Balser, has "a very liberal view." Although acknowledging that Balser is a psychologist and "well versed" in mental health, she said reducing marijuana to a civil infraction would be wrong.
"It sends a terrible message to everyone, especially our youth, to say marijuana is not a big deal," Poirier told a local paper. "Any kind of substance abuse that is tolerated by our society is going to be the downfall of our society."
Poirier doesn't seem to understand that marijuana use is not being condoned by this proposed law. It would still be illegal, and carry a fine. What would change is people found in possession of less than one single ounce of the fairly common substance would not be branded a criminal. That is neither liberal nor conservative - it is just common sense.